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More than 2,000 migrants storm over fence into Spanish enclave bordering Morocco in chaotic scenes

More than 2,000 migrants storm over fence into Spanish enclave bordering Morocco in chaotic scenes at EU’s only land border

More than 2,000 migrants stormed the border fence separating the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Friday, the first attempted mass crossing into the territory since the two nations restored diplomatic ties in March.

Chaotic scenes at the EU’s only land border with Africa showed thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa running across a field before storming the border fence on Friday morning.

At least 130 migrants managed to enter Melilla, the Spanish government’s local delegation said.

Videos show the migrants – the vast majority of whom are men – cheering and raising their arms to celebrate as they ran through the streets of Melilla after storming the fence.

Melilla and Ceuta, Spain’s other small North African enclave, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa, making them a magnet for migrants.

Chaotic scenes at the EU's only land border with Africa showed thousands of migrants, from sub-Saharan Africa, running across a field before storming the border fence on Friday morning

Chaotic scenes at the EU’s only land border with Africa showed thousands of migrants, from sub-Saharan Africa, running across a field before storming the border fence on Friday morning

Videos show the migrants - the vast majority of whom are men - cheering and raising their arms to celebrate as they ran through the streets of Melilla after storming the fence

Videos show the migrants – the vast majority of whom are men – cheering and raising their arms to celebrate as they ran through the streets of Melilla after storming the fence

At least 130 migrants managed to enter Melilla, the local delegation of the Spanish government said

At least 130 migrants managed to enter Melilla, the local delegation of the Spanish government said

A group of 2,000 migrants tried to storm the border fence at 8.40 am on Friday and a “significant number” managed to get in, the local Spanish government delegation said.

The migrants were “perfectly organized and violent,” it added.

Morocco deployed a “large” amount of troops to try to fend off the attack on the border, who were “actively cooperating” with Spanish security forces, the statement said.

In March of this year, Spain put an end to a year-long diplomatic crisis by backing Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara, building on its decades-long neutrality.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez then visited Rabat and the two governments praised a ‘new phase’ in relations.

A group of 2,000 migrants stormed the border fence at 8.40am on Friday and a 'significant number' managed to get in

A group of 2,000 migrants stormed the border fence at 8.40am on Friday and a ‘significant number’ managed to get in

More than 2,000 migrants stormed the border separating the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Friday, the first attempted mass crossing into the territory since the two nations re-established diplomatic ties in March.

More than 2,000 migrants stormed the border between the Spanish enclave of Melilla and Morocco on Friday, the first attempted mass crossing into the territory since the two nations re-established diplomatic ties in March.

Migrants en route to a Center for the Temporary Residence of Immigrants (CETI) in Melilla, Spain's enclave in North Africa, on Friday after storming the border

Migrants en route to a Center for Temporary Residence of Immigrants (CETI) in Melilla, Spain’s enclave in North Africa, on Friday after storming the border

The spat began when Madrid allowed Brahim Ghali, leader of the Western Sahrara’s pro-independence front, to be treated for Covid-19 in a Spanish hospital in April 2021.

A month later, some 10,000 migrants flooded the Moroccan border into the enclave of Ceuta in Spain, while border guards looked the other way, in what was widely seen by Rabat as a punitive gesture.

Rabat calls for Western Sahara to be given autonomous status under Moroccan sovereignty, but the Polisario Front wants a UN-controlled referendum on self-determination, as agreed in a 1991 ceasefire agreement.

Over the years, thousands of migrants have attempted to cross the 12-kilometer-long border between Melilla and Morocco, or the eight-kilometer-long border of Ceuta, by climbing fences, swimming along the coast or hiding in vehicles.

The two areas are protected by barbed wire fences, video cameras and watchtowers.

According to Morocco, the two cities have long been a flashpoint in diplomatic relations between Rabat and Madrid, insisting that both are an integral part of Spain.

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